Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ingat Claveria

Hey fam,
So looks like this will be my last day in Claveria. That's right I'm heading off to my 4th area, Bacarra It's kinda by Laoag. I heard it's kind of a rough area, but hey magbabago ang bacarra. (: My companion is Sister Lumanog, she just finished training and I'm sure is super magaling!
Dang, I'm going to miss Claveria. This place literally changed my life. I have learned so much in the last few months! I'm going to miss grandma and grandpa (the Pettingils), they have helped me so much. I'm really sad to be leaving because I know a lot of big things are about to happen, but it's okay I left my area stronger than I found it. The Claveria Branch is now the strongest Branch in our mission with a sacrament attendance of 200+ I'm very pleased with the progress!
This week was so great. Me and Sister Simangan worked super hard! We taught 39 lessons and found a lot of really great people that have been prepared by the Lord. It's incredible how if you just work hard and be obedient, the Lord will lead you to those who he has prepared!
We made huge progress on the Dalo Family. We were actually planning their baptism for this last Saturday, but we received a text from nanay telling us that she had to go to an emergency training all week so they'll have to postpone their baptism. Sayang! I won't get to be there, but that's okay. The important thing is that they get baptized! I just love this work!
We visited the Benigno family, the less active family of about 30 people. They are also making a lot of progress, but they just can't seem to forget about the person that offended them 14 years ago. Every time we go they just always bring it out. Finally I just pulled out the secret weapon. Revelation 3:11 "Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." I told them that this is not about this person that offended them, but about Christ. We don't know when time will be too late, we must hold fast. We can't just give up our salvation for something as silly as offense. After tatay read the scripture he just looked up and said, "we will be at church next week, thank you for reminding us." So I'm excited to see what happens!
Thank you for all of your support and love! I know that this is Christ's church and it has been restored in these last days. this is a divine work and am so grateful to be apart of it. To all of you, Hold fast and 'let no man take thy crown'. Love you all!
Sister Abelhouzen

Sandcastles & Sugarcane!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Salvation is not Cheap

Hello My dearest family and friends! 
Well I left Claveria Tuesday. It was bittersweet. I love claveria and really love those people. Monday was FHE at the Curamengs. It was mahirap to say good bye. Members were crying... man I hate good byes. 
When I got to Bacarra... wow what a change, everyone is so rich and soo ilocano. I have never seen so many nice house my whole mission and I've had to step up my ilocano came since my companion is no longer an ilocana. It is crazy. The nice thing is that there are a lot of investigators here. So even though they're rich they're still willing to listen to the word of God. Now we just gotta getem' to church (: The Ward seems strong, a lot of good leaders and a lot of Return missionaries. That makes a big Difference.
My new companion is Sister Lumanog. She's awesome! She's pretty new in the mission, just finished her 12 week training. She's from Bacolod, Philippines and is a hard worker! It should be a good transfer! 
This week we've just been working hard and meeting all the people here. Once I get to know them better I'll tell you some awesome stories haha! 
This weekend we finally got to see conference! ah! It was amazing! I love how they are able to speak in their native tongue now. Maybe next year, Tagalog! 
I really loved the talks. This time I wrote a bunch of questions on things that I can do to become a better missionary. They were ALL answered better than I could have imagined! Our leaders are truly inspired and called of God! 

I've grown up always thinking that we live in a generally good world. You hear stories about bad things people do, but subconsciously I've always thought that that would never happen to me. or be done by anyone I know. I guess I was thinking I just lived in a protective bubble where nothing bad happens around me. I've always heard stores about persecution of the Church or Truth. They're everywhere, The bible, Book of Mormon, church history, even other missionaries in our day. I thought yeah people will reject our message I guess, but I didn't quite understand. It absolutely blew my mind and still does to this day that people don't want to listen and when they do listen that they aren't absolutely astonished. I mean this is the truth, Why aren't people flocking to the baptismal font? Let me put this in terms that we can understand, well at least us girls. For me, I felt like we are offering people a 100% off sale at H&M, or sportsman warehouse for you guys,  I mean right?? Wouldn't everyone be all over that?! The only thing is, it's way better than 'clothes' or 'things'. its the truth! The literal way to our salvation. YOUR SALVATION PEOPLE AH! 
Elder Uchdorfs and many others talks really put it into perspective for me! Something I remember Jeffrey R Holland Said to missionaries, "How could we ever expect it to be easy for us, when it was never ever easy for Him. Salvation is not cheap." What we're offering is not a 100% off sale at H&M, we're inviting others to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and to know how to return to our Father in Heaven. But it's not cheap and it most certainly is not free. We must give everything. The only people that will see that and understand are those that have truly been prepared by the Lord. To everyone else we're just another church or another place to go on Sunday. What they don't understand, this is everything, Everything we are and how we live. 
But we can't be discouraged because there are those out there that are searching, that truly want to know. We just have to find them. and through the miracles of God, we will! 
I love being a missionary! 
Sister Abelhouzen
Picture: a part of God's army Bangui Zone.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Baguio Season

sige po, wag po kayong magalala buhay pa ako. 

There was a big typhoon in the Philippines and it knocked out the power in our area and I'm not sure how long it will be out. but today we traveled to laoag for zone conference and got to email. also I had a cold glass of water, it was awesome. 
The  zone conference  was incredible and really motivated me to be better! We focused on a lot of things but these are some of the things that stood out to me: Leave behind all personal, this mission is not about us missionaries, forget it all. retain recent converts, the work is not done. asking inspired questions takes obedience and planning. fear is not real! I always seem to get exactly what I need to be a better missionary!
last monday was pretty awesome, we got to go to some more waterfalls. It was a pretty funny story though this cute little nanay in our ward said she knew where they were and we went, but we went to this random little swimming pool with a little spout. "nanay where is it??" "there! isn't it beautiful" gotta love filipinos they definitely find beauty in the little things! but don't worry we found it Tuesday we had the chance to Volunteer for a program that the church is sponsoring, it's called ligtas sa tigdas. Basically we just went around with the Health department and gave this children vaccinations for free for a disease that really harmful. for us in the U.S. we receive our MMR shots when we're babies, but most of these families can't afford it, so a lot of children get sick. It was really awesome to help out. My companion gave out vitamins and I gave the kids candy and comforted them after and before their shots. I loved it and the parents were really grateful we were there. It reminded me of volunteering in the E.R. 

When we got back from Zone Conference I was ready to work, Thursday we worked all day. It was so awesome! We saw so many miracles! I found my jam again... it's rough when there are storms and you're stuck inside.Well to my surprise Friday Morning we received a text from president telling us that we would not be able to work that day because another storm was coming...noooooo. ah I hate it. On the bright side we did get to stay with the petinggils again and ate delicious american food. but in the afternoon I felt like we needed to go visit one of our recent converts and so I text president and told him the storm wasn't too bad in Claveria so he approved, but told me to be careful and come home right after. So we did. Turned out being an awesome lesson. His son's whole family was in town and we taught about temple sealing, they seemed very interested so we told them we'd come back again. storms can't stop the work of God. Saturday we woke up to a sunny sky! "yes, this means work." I thought. After a few appointments, president texts again. "Nobody go out and work. don't be a hero. it's not safe." WHATTT? it's sunny! but don't worry, I did what I was told and went home. within a few hours the sky turned black and the storm was here. It really wasn't bad in Claveria, but in other areas it was. I heard in Vigan (my first area) their apartment was so flooded they were up to their chest in water... crazy.Sunday was good, but our attendance was really low because of the storms. Everyone just pray that there are no more! I wanna preach the Gospel! 

Love you all! have a great week! 

Sister Abelhouzen